Rep. Sinema won't say if she regrets Taliban comments


Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, her party’s nominee for Arizona’s seat in the U.S. Senate, declined to say whether she regrets saying she had no problem with Americans wanting to join the Taliban.

Audio from Sinema’s days as an anti-war activist in 2003 includes her saying, “I don’t care if you want to do that, go ahead,” when asked if she would object to Americans abandoning their country to fight with the Taliban.

Sinema was asked in an interview with the Arizona Republic’s editorial board Wednesday whether she regretted her past comments.

“I was opposed to that war in 2003, and 15 years later, that war is still going on and we’ve lost American lives,” Sinema said.

One of the Republic editors jumped in to ask whether Sinema was “just being glib” when she made the Taliban remark.

“That was an off-hand comment that was to direct the conversation back to what I wanted to talk about, which was my concerns about this war. I was against the war — 15 years later, I think there are good reasons for that,” she answered.

“But you can see how that comment about the Taliban could be offensive to people on the ground?” asked one of the interviewers.

The congresswoman sidestepped that question and stressed the importance of  “understanding the context in which that conversation occurred,” which she said was a “very difficult conversation.”

“I was really struggling to talk about what I wanted to speak about, so an off-hand comment to get us back on track was what I did to try to talk about the issue,” Sinema said. She did not apologize or express any regret over the comment.

Mike Broomhead

Mike Broomhead

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